Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Series: The Books of Ore (Book #1)
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages
ISBN-10: 1423162277 (Disney-Hyperion)
ISBN-13: 978-1423162278 (Disney-Hyperion)
Reviewed by: Kaitlin
For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief Surveyor for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on technology, Phoebe’s father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal, one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.
Quick & Dirty: This book wasn’t for me. I didn’t connect with the characters and spent most of the time confused.
Opening Sentence: The man in the fog was watching her.
Phoebe Plumm’s dad helps run the Foundry, he’s the world leader in machines and all new technological advances. But it seems the Foundry might not be as innocent as citizens were led to believe. Phoebe is an escapee of the recent kidnap of her and Mr. Plumm, she teams up with one of her worst enemies to get her father back. This journey leads Micah and Phoebe into Mehk, a world that the Foundry has been abusing for years as a way to discover the new advances that Phoebe has coveted in the past. Because Mehk is a world of living, breathing metal.
We start in the future, a not-so-far future but one rich in technological innovations. I loved the way all the different trends were described, and it was really interesting to be immersed into such an advanced society. For example, we have cable bikes: bikes attached to thick wires that intersect and cross like roads, except in the air. Also, the honeygum, which made my mouth water: a flavored, thick liquid that solidifies into gum in your mouth. Learning about the bright civilization the world had become was one of my favorite parts of reading this story. However, once things got complicated, it went into a downward spiral. I started enjoying myself less and less and got more confused with every page. It all started when we were introduced to Mehk. Suddenly, the duel point of view of the Foundry chairman that was also added only made things harder to get into. There is supposedly a war that is about to erupt, but I wish that I could have seen more groundwork behind the two countries before learning about their troubles.
Enter the Mehk, an astoundingly unique world full of living metal. Throughout the ages, this world has been plundered and its inhabitants murdered by the Foundry, so that the corporation can create greater machines and tech for the human world of “bleeders”. Its inhabitants mostly speak in rattletrap, the language of the metal creatures. It was awesome to hear about the different species of metal things, but at the same time it was difficult to understand. The originality of the concept is so amazing that before reading I was excited to dive in, but I wasn’t able to get lost in the world building because of I would still be muddling through what had been talked about last paragraph. So much was put into the stories of Mehk and how it connected with the Foundry but that was when I most wanted to chuck the book at the wall. Once, a character mentions CHAR, which captures the metal creatures in eternal torment. I didn’t realize until the end that the character had been describing that the creatures were melted down to liquid. Finally, my last complaint about Mehk. The Mehkans speak so annoyingly. Dollop, a main character during the children’s time in Mehk, talks with a stutter. “S-s-so.” And another large amount of the book is devoted to two characters that talk with words that sometimes I have to search on the internet because they aren’t often used by today’s people, even if they are English.
This book is technically considered middle grade but I didn’t see it. The words used were YA level and the emotions the characters had belonged in a YA book as well.
Phoebe and Micah were two enemies turned friends. If you love book romances, I warn you not to start this one as you will be disappointed. The relationship is a cute friendship and doesn’t stray behind one hug at the very end! Maybe this is why it is considered young adult…
If you are drawn in by the exciting and unique premise, and can easily keep up with hard and confusing plotlines, I encourage you to pick this up. However, this novel was not for me. I didn’t appreciate the characters very much. The setting was the only redeeming quality that I very much enjoyed, except when I was angrily rolling my eyes because I didn’t get it. Mehk is such an interesting and intriguing idea that I wish I could have had a better experience with it. While the end of the book has a couple of twists, I saw one coming for awhile, and the other just didn’t affect me. I didn’t connect with the Micah or Phoebe enough to really care about what happened to them. In fact, the only character I loved was Dollop, who I just thought was a really adorable metal creature I imagined in the shape of a dog. Plus, the plotline really dragged towards the middle. I hope you like this novel better than I did!
Is that… me?
Her hair was a matted nest, her face sunburned and strained with sweat-streaked grease. She held her own gaze for a long moment, marveling at the hardened girl staring back at her.
She was doing this. She was going to find him.
The Books Of Ore:
FTC Advisory: Disney Hyperion provided me with a copy of The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.